Andy Roddick must love Miami.
What is it about the Sony Ericsson Open that seems to bring out the best tennis in Roddick especially during moments in his career that no one expects anything? It was the case last night as Roddick faced his eternal nemesis Roger Federer in a third round encounter that, despite Roddick’s earlier statement that he felt something good was coming in his game, was expected to be another straight sets victory for the Swiss maestro.
But it was Roddick who produced unexpected but stunning tennis as his huge serve allowed him to stay even with Federer throughout the first set that led to a tiebreak that, after a missed Federer overhead at 4-3, allowed Roddick to serve it out.
To play near-perfect tennis for two sets seemed too much to ask for Roddick as he suffered a letdown that allowed Federer to break him three times en route to a second set rout. When Roddick struggled during his opening service game of the third set, Federer looked poised to run away with the match.
Roddick held though for 1-all and then proceeded to unload on four forehand winners that looked straight out of his 2003 U.S. Open title run. Even Federer appeared a tad stunned at the grunting, big hitting player standing across from him at net. Each man did their part to hold serve, until the moment of truth came at 5-4 when Roddick stepped up to close it out.
Looking up to the sky, Roddick appeared to be talking to someone on high as he reigned down big serve after big serve to get to match point. A 134-mph bomb that Federer could do nothing with gave Roddick a 7-6, 1-6, 6-4 victory, his first win over Federer since the last time they played in Miami in 2008. Roddick now faces Juan Monaco in the next round.
Afterwards, Roddick admitted that during the final moments of the match he was “hearing” the voice of his late agent Ken Meyerson who passed away unexpectedly last year. Inspired tennis, both from within and from above, is what Roddick produced last night during a moment in his career that many thought might be his final chapter. Instead, it looks like Roddick is getting ready to write the last act of his long career on his own terms.
But then, would you expect anything else?